Act VI, Scene 4

Sweet Tooth

81 solves / 940 incorrect guesses

Solution: TURKISHDELIGHTS


Credits: Daniel Tao

We open this puzzle to reveal that we have stumbled upon somebody’s dental record. A closer inspection reveals that this patient has had services performed on practically every tooth (proper oral hygiene, anyone?), and that these services resemble sweet-themed quick clues more than anything else. So let’s get to work!

Tooth # Clue Answer
11 Chemical produced by fermenting glucose (7) ETHANOL
12 Take away someone’s ability to command, perhaps because they had their hands in the cookie jar (5) STRIP
13 Chocolate and cream icing (7) GANACHE
14 Celtic person north of the Hadrian Wall waiting for the Romans to take their sweet time to leave (4) PICT
15 Where Fa’ausi is a traditional dessert (5) SAMOA
16 What you do with a lolly wrapper before throwing it in the bin (7) SCRUNCH
17 Miami photographer ___ John Sweet (6) ANDREW
18
21 Humour or glycoprotein-containing substance secreted by respiratory mucous cells (6) PHLEGM
22 Sweet little girl whose father was killed by a stingray (5) BINDI
23 ___ Levine who wrote “Sugar” (4) ADAM
24 Eyelash cosmetics, perhaps worn by people attending a sweet 16th party (8) MASCARAS
25 Japanese fish as colourful as Skittles (3) KOI
26 Ice cream where one side is a sandwich and the other is covered in chocolate (7) MAXIBON
27 An Acorus calamus is more commonly known as a sweet ___(4) FLAG
28
31 Retro, perhaps describing a shop where lollies are stocked in jars (3-6) OLD SCHOOL
32 Describes the light nature of fairy floss or a large well-ventilated space (4) AIRY
33 Colloquial name of barristers who, as reward for sweet legal victories, are honoured by letters patent (5) SILKS
34 That sweet old lady used to be very mean, but ___ in her old age (8) MELLOWED
35 State that is the home of akutaq (6) ALASKA
36 Disease characterised by weakening bones that may be prevented by lactose-containing foods and drinks (12) OSTEOPOROSIS
37 Falcon known as a “windhover” after its behaviour when hunting for dessert (7) KESTREL
38
41 The public should be ___ about the dangers of sugary diets (8) EDUCATED
42 What the supermarket has to do when their shelves run out of lollies (7) RESTOCK
43 Better cut down on sweets if you have this condition that causes your heart to beat irregularly (10) ARRYTHMIA*
44 Coconut-flavoured biscuits sprinkled with sugar crystals produced by Arnott’s (4) NICE
45 Flower typically associated with sweet romantic gestures (4) ROSE
46 Ancient script where “carob” means sweet (11) HIEROGLYPHS
47 Capital city where you may find stroopwafel (9) AMSTERDAM
48

Now that we have the answers to all of our clues, we should take a look at the other piece of information this dental record has provided us — the numbers corresponding to each tooth. A quick Google search should lead us to the FDI World Dental Federation (ISO 3950) notation, where each tooth is labelled as follows (refer to the numbers in red):

As such, we can now attempt to arrange the words into their respective positions in the jaw, ensuring that the upper and lower teeth are matched appropriately. Thus, we should get some sort of diagram resembling this:

What may elude solvers here is that there are actually Cadbury Favourites chocolates hidden between the upper and lower teeth (bolded in the table above), and each of these chocolates contains an extra letter (red in the table above).

Reading across, we spot DRE(W)AMS, CRUNCH(H)IE, MO(A)ROS, PIC(T)NIC, CHE(A)RRY RIP(R)ES, OL(E)D G(M)OLDS, D(I)AIRY M(S)ILKS, CARA(S)MELLO KO(I)ALAS, BO(N)OST, and FLA(G)KES.

If we collect all of the extra letters and read from left to right (right to left, anatomically), we obtain the message WHAT ARE MISSING. Presumably, this is a question about what chocolates are missing from the collection provided above.

We note that the current selection includes Dreams, Crunchie, Moros, Picnic, Cherry Ripes, Old Golds, Dairy Milks, Caramello Koalas, Boost, and Flakes. If we refer to the official Cadbury website for Favourites Boxed Chocolates, we soon realise that the answer refers to a sweet as contentious as liquorice all-sorts and musk sticks — I am, of course, referring to TURKISH DELIGHTS.


Author's notes

The inspiration for this puzzle actually came from my dentist sister who suggested — and I’m still unsure as to whether or not she was joking about this — that I write a puzzle about teeth. I initially wanted to make the Easter Bunny the patient, as rabbits has 28 teeth and would fit well with the 28 clues that I had constructed. However, I discovered too late that a rabbit’s teeth are not symmetrical, with 16 teeth in the upper jaw and 12 teeth in the lower jaw.

There were also, unfortunately, a number of issues that arose during the puzzle-writing process. Some have been ironed out, but I would still like to address a handful of them for the benefit of the solvers.

  • The word “ARRYTHMIA” (*; asterisked) was the incorrect spelling of ARRHYTHMIA, and somehow made its way into our word list and, as a consequence, our puzzle. Unfortunately, by the time we discovered this, it was far too late, and we were forced to leave it in and face the consequences.
  • There was potential for confusion with the final code phrase — “WHAT ARE MISSING” could refer to the wisdom teeth — and an attempt was made at circumventing this by greying out teeth 18, 28, 38, and 48, and implying that the wisdom teeth are present and not to be touched.
  • There was potential for confusion with the final code phrase — “WHAT ARE MISSING” could refer to the redacted information at the top of the page — and we now realise, in hindsight, this was a cutesy design element that should never have been incorporated in the first place.
  • There was some inherent difficulty in making the leap to aligning the teeth and uncovering words and letters between them. However, we believed that the dental notation would be enough for solvers to realise that tooth position in the jaw was important.
  • The final mechanism with the Favourites chocolates buried between the teeth was something that went under constant revision — first in choosing which chocolates to include, then in assembling a code phrase, and then finally in drumming up a mechanism (which was initially going to rely on a heavy amount of anagramming).
  • The clues were all supposed to be sweet-themed, so we apologise for any unnecessarily contrived clues.
  • The clues were also supposed to be very gettable, so we apologise for any overly challenging clues.

I would just like to finish off this set of solutions by saying a very special thanks to Alec Barber and his programming wizardry for making this puzzle far easier to write. I honestly do not know how my unevolved, old-school, pen-and-paper-driven puzzling process has stood the test of time.

I would also like to say a special thanks to my fellow co-writers for this Hunt, Allen Gu and Zoe Schwerkolt, for their invaluable assistance in the cluing and test-solving process.